Dave (Bonus Book 4)

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Chapter 41: Aftershocks

Days seemed to pass like weeks as Maria stayed in her bed staring at the walls. She didn’t talk to anyone. She didn’t call anyone. She didn’t even bother asking why Dave wasn’t there with her. She wanted to believe that he’d realize that Natalie was better for him, but the monster inside knew that if he could be there he would. Still she was enjoying the isolation of him not being around allowing her to wallow in her own self pity without the supervision she’d grown accustomed to. In her own fear she felt safe. She felt caged in somewhere where she knew he wouldn’t be able to get to her and hurt her again. She didn’t have to worry about anything and she didn’t have to talk about what happened. For once she didn’t have to think about what would’ve happened hadn’t she been found. She didn’t have to remember the look in his eyes as he started undoing his pants. For the time being, she didn’t have to care about anything or anyone. She didn’t have to feel. She just had to barely exist and she was okay with that.

Dave’s p.o.v.

I rubbed my wrists as I grabbed my things and stepped out of the police station. I had been here all fucking weekend and was clueless as to what had been going on. I knew the girls were probably pissed at me for losing it like that. Although I could’ve said I was just trying to protect Maria, I knew that wasn’t the entire reason. Protecting her the right way meant getting her out of there and I hadn’t done that.

Instead I had wanted to hurt someone. I wanted to release the aggression I was failing terribly at managing. I was pissed, confused and feeling weaker than I ever had before. It felt like I was waiting to wake up from a horrible nightmare. Natalie was alive. All this time she’d been alive and I hadn’t known at all. All this time, I’d suffered from something that happened and it was almost like it never occurred in the first place. I felt betrayed. I felt left. She had turned her back on me. She didn’t care about me or my safety. I felt like I’d suffered, and made others suffer, for nothing. There was so much I wanted to yell at her, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. She’d ruined so many lives both directly and indirectly because of this and she had no clue.

To make matters worse, my own girlfriend had treated me as if I was the monster she’d constantly refused to believe I was. She’d pushed me away. Yet, she still sought comfort in both her exes. She’d clung to them in the way that she was supposed to have clung to me. I should’ve been the one she came to first. She screamed bloody murder when I touched her face trying to get her to focus on me, but she practically melted in his touch. An animalistic rage I hadn’t even humans were capable of had filled me and I almost killed him.

Now I was pissed again and I just wanted to go home. I didn’t want to be bothered and I didn’t want to pretend to care. I didn’t want to be around anyone, especially the both of them. I just needed time to myself for a while so I didn’t hurt more people. Sighing I headed towards the bus stop grumbling under my breath. I really wished I had my truck right now. I’d drive it in circles until I felt like I would wake up from this nightmare. I really wished Maria had listened to me in the first place and not forced us to go hangout with people that we could’ve seen another time. I really wished Natalie hadn’t blindsided me without warning.

I wished I knew why the hell the charges had been dropped and now I was free to go. I especially wished it wasn’t so fucking cold right now so that I could walk my ass home. Just as I reached the edge of the parking lot, I saw my car pulling into the station. A part of me hoped that it was Maria, hoped that my Minnie would pull me out of this hell decorated trance, but my heart knew better. Only one person would be stupid enough to try coming to talk to me. Only one person didn’t know how I was now. Only one person knew who I used to be. My suspicions were confirmed as she got out of the car and walked to the passenger side.

“So are you coming or what Scar?” she snapped rolling her eyes before getting back in the car. I groaned as I stomped towards the driver’s side and got in. I didn’t need this right now. I didn’t want the happiness trying to claw its way to the surface from the sound of her voice using the name only she called me.

“Don’t say shit Bear and I’m not joking.” I growled between clenched teeth. I just wanted to be lost in my thoughts right now. I needed to be alone.

“Tough shit Scar.” she rolled her eyes as my hands clenched tighter around the steering wheel. They would be the death of me and a part of me felt like they enjoyed it. “Mary went missing this weekend. No one has talked to her and she hasn’t come out of her house at all. What the hell happened Friday?”

“I don’t fucking know and I don’t want to talk about it.” I snapped, the blood draining from my knuckles from how tight my grip had gotten. “Not yet.”

“Who are you now?” she gasped disbelief filling her tone making me cringe. It’s been so long since I’d heard her disappointment in me and that was one dagger I didn’t need to add to the others. I already knew how much of a failure I was. “Where’s the Scar that I knew? The one that would’ve been there for his girlfriend instead of getting into a brawl with an unknown.” Now she was pissing me off. Flashes of her pushing me away and screaming as if I was the bad guy kept replaying in my mind.

“He died the same night you did.” I snapped my grip, still getting tighter. I didn’t care if I hurt her feelings, it was the truth. Her Scar was gone.

Jace’s p.o.v.

All weekend my stomach wouldn’t settle. Something was nagging at the back of my mind, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. The little devil was screaming at me to pay attention, but when it mattered I couldn’t hear. Seeing Maria again that Christmas had brought up feelings I thought I’d buried deep down, but I was wrong. I still felt like I had more than enough to make up to her and I had no idea where to start.

We were only two years apart, but I felt like I’d stolen her childhood. If it hadn’t been for me none of this would be happening. After seeing her react to Chase, I was more sure now than ever that I had the story all wrong. It didn’t help that I hadn’t heard from him all weekend either. He told me he was going to go see his cousin Justin who was in jail. I figured it was more of a cop out than anything, but it gave me the time I needed to think.

I still knew where she stayed. I still remembered every sneaky shortcut I’d taken so we wouldn’t be caught. It all took me down memory lane, but I knew that it wouldn’t end well this time. This time wasn’t really a social nor pleasant call, it was practically business. It was the only way to prove to me what I didn’t want to believe. It was what I had to do. Sucking up all the courage I could, I left my parents house and got in my car.

Quickly racing through the quickest route, I started the car and headed towards the answers I’ve been struggling for years to find. It felt like my chest was tightening as I pulled up to her house. Her friends were on the porch looking defeated. They hadn’t had any luck. One thing I remembered about her for sure, she was stubborn. If she was choosing to isolate herself, then that was it. There was no getting to her. Despite the fact that I was beginning to have second thoughts, I turned the car off and got out.

Each step felt like a warning. Each step was like a whisper telling me to turn back. Telling me that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. Telling me that I didn’t want the truth, no matter how much I’d fooled myself into believing that I did.

Natalie’s p.o.v.

A part of me wanted to curse his ass out, but a much bigger part had anticipated his anger. I knew he would be hurt and upset after all of this time, but I hadn’t fully taken into account just how different he could possibly be. Still it hurt to have him talking to me like that. He was still one of the few people I knew whom I felt I could still put my trust in. He was my Scar and I hoped he would always be my person.

This wasn’t my Scar though and I’d been foolish to think it was. Still, old habits were hard to stop.

This person sitting in the driver seat was nothing more than a hard shell of his former self; of the guy I once knew. He wasn’t the only one that had changed though. I refused to just let him say whatever to me like he did when we were younger. I wasn’t that same scared little girl to shy to speak up for her-damn-self anymore.

“Look Scar, just because you stupidly got yourself into a situation you can’t handle, does not mean you can just talk to me any kind of way you want.” I snapped making sure to use my pointer finger to mush him upside his head. I could hear the growl building in the back of his throat and admittedly for a minute it scared me.

“Funnily enough, Amaryllis, I remember telling you that exact same thing.” he laughed. I had always hated that laugh he gave off when he was going to intentionally be cruel. It made him sound like the worst evil villian in a movie. This was not the sweetheart who used to wake me up at nine in the morning when we were twelve just so we could make banana and peanut butter pancakes to eat while we watched cartoons.

“Don’t fucking start Micheal.” I growled the words slipping past my lips before I could stop them. Every bone in my body ached from the mistake I’d just made. I reiterate… old habits die hard.

“The fuck do you mean don’t start?!” he asked incredulously. “Are you kidding me? I haven’t seen you since we were fucking freshman in high school. Since we were damn near fifteen. We’re sophomores in college now! Suddenly you want to reappear and act as if nothing happened?” he was madder than I expected, but I didn’t miss the heavy undertones of hurt woven through his anger. He paused for a moment to pull off of the main road and onto a side one before parking. A very small part of me wanted to say something, but the look on his face stopped me. Every inch of me wanted to run rather than to sit and listen to his pain. “Do you not understand all that you’ve put me through? I understand why you chose the route that you did, trust me I do, but was there no way to let me know that you were alive ahead of time. All of this fucking time I thought you were dead. I thought you left me Bear and I blamed myself for it. I became a nightmare because of it. So much that happened could have simply been avoided had you just said something to me damn it. There are a thousand ways that you could’ve gotten in contact with me and let me know.”

“I tried Scar, I really did, but you never came over for dinner.” I whined defensively now starting to feel attacked. “It’s not my fault that you didn’t respond to the invitation.”

“Are you brain damaged? You can’t be that stupid. Your parents both belittled me and blamed me for years over your death. Why in the hell did you think I would want to be around them again? How in the hell was I supposed to know it was all a rouse? Why didn’t anyone just tell my mother and have her tell me? Why wasn’t that thought about? Had you gone that route I would’ve accepted whatever invitation that had been sent out, but let’s be real for a second. In reality, those invitations started towards the end of senior year. What about all of the time before then? Was I just supposed to show up and see you standing there and be okay with it? Just be happy because you’d actually survived. I. Thought. You. Were. Dead. I thought my best-friend was gone and I thought it was my fault. I blamed myself for being too caught up in my own popularity status that I hadn’t noticed your cries for help. I blamed myself for not noticing sooner what that psycho was doing. I blamed myself for not warning you better. For not watching you better. I felt like I had failed. I wasn’t the friend you could talk to. I wasn’t the brother you could cry to. I wasn’t the protector that would make sure no one brought harm to you. I wasn’t the person you could rely on. I hadn’t kept you safe. I hated myself for being so stupid. I hated him for taking you away from me too soon. I hated you for allowing it to get as far as it did. I had questions. Hell, I still have questions. Why didn’t you fight back? You could have kicked his ass, but you didn’t. There’s a constant battle where I wondered if you let yourself be beat or were you really just that terrified. I didn’t get it and I don’t understand it. I don’t understand. The only thing I understand right now is that same thing that my girlfriend claims to love about me is the same thing that makes her terrified of me when she needs me most. So fuck off, and if I want to start then you bet your ass I fucking will. You will sit there and you will listen because yes, you’ve ruined my life. I became the worse version of myself because I refused to grieve you and when I finally begin to just let go, you pop back up? Fuck that Bear. You had a thousand options at your fingertips to tell me you were alive. You chose to keep me in the dark. You chose to let me be hurt. Don’t even pretend like you don’t know what I did, I know your parents would’ve told you. Don’t pretend you don’t know what happened to Persephone just to piss me off. Those assholes didn’t try to hide it. Just sit back and shut the fuck up. Let me deal with my shit the way I’ve learned how. The way that doesn’t involve you anymore. I may still love you, but I’m different now. Now, I understand that my best-friend chose to let me be in pain. She chose to let me be hurt. She chose the option that was easiest for her.”

There was nothing that I could say. Honestly, he had a point. Why hadn’t I come forward sooner? Why hadn’t I at least reached out after Justin had been charged? Maybe I had wanted to get away from more than just terrible decisions and horrible mistakes? Maybe I was running from something that I still can’t quite admit to myself.

The knocking at the door was constant and was beginning to hurt her head. She feared answering it for multiple reasons. The twins wanted answers that she just couldn’t give.

She didn’t know why she froze. She thought the situation had been dealt with.

She didn’t know why she chose Phoenix to help keep her grounded. It was a question she’d asked herself many times.

She didn’t know why she freaked out on Dave. The only thing that she could even attempt to try to understand was that she didn’t feel safe with him at that moment.

The biggest thing that confused her of all was the moment with Jace. She felt so safe in his arms. She was able to relax and melt into him. She knew he would be her protector and there was no question about it. She felt like she was that freshman girl again with him. Like nothing had gone to hell for her; and although looking back on the moment she realized how naive she was, her assumption that she was safe with Jace remained.

Still, her questions remained. She needed answers.

Sighing she laid down on the couch feeling more detach than ever. Lifting the joint to her mouth she inhaled the sweet and strong taste of the weed before exhaling each thought that remained of that trauma. It was a habit that her therapist had called dangerous. Saying that if she didn’t learn how to deal and talk she would develop a habit worse than a few puffs from a joint.

At the moment she didn’t care. She wanted to forget. The nights in the pool with Dave would play in her mind lingering the longer she inhaled. She felt complete with him in a sense that she couldn’t explain.

The flashbacks would switch to the nights when her and Jace would sneak away and have an adventure of their own. She would be giggling feeling light on her feet, positive that nothing would ever make her frown again.

It was confusing to realize that love was completely different every time. It was a hard concept to grasp as she tried to figure out her emotions. Neither had bothered to contact her or make sure she was okay, but she knew they had their reasons. Besides, being alone smoking a joint had her feeling free as a bird. She may have fallen for them differently, but they both still played a part in the worst moments in her life.

More knocks sounded throughout the empty house as she sat up and just stared in the direction the sound was coming from. With each one her heart would beat faster. She could feel her anxiety crawling it’s way up her bones, wrapping around her muscles and nerves trying to claw its way to her heart to sink it’s teeth into it.

“Princess it’s me. Please open up.” the voice floated to her ears making her whimper out. She wanted to get up and opened the door, but she was stuck in her trance. Her heart reached out for him begging him to still be the guy she thought she knew.

The one who would bring gummy candies when she was feeling sad.

The guy who would hug her just because he missed having her close to him.

The guy who would sneakily find ways to say he was thinking of her while still keeping everyone ignorant to what had truly transpired between them.

The guy who would sit and rub her feet as they sat in his car just talking about the kinds of food they loved and wanted to try.

She wanted the guy she knew, whom she bonded with without even trying to, but she knew he too was different now.

She felt it the last time they’d been together. To see him with Chase was like a smack in the face to her. He’d kept in contact with her since he left, but never told her they were still friends. He knew she didn’t really like him anymore, but he’d assumed it was because of the rumors he’d been told. He didn’t know what to believe, but he had no idea what the truth really was.

She finished her joint quickly lighting another before taking a swig of her wine. She inhaled deeply loving the feeling of the smoke filling her lungs. The demon inside had been encased in fear, but was growing stronger in the fight to get free. She knew a way to help forget and she knew from experience it was something they’d both enjoy.

After all, after years of being friends and finally getting together, Dave hadn’t even bothered to give her a call. He didn’t sneak through her window to hug her until she’d fallen asleep. He hadn’t even texted her good morning or sweet dreams. She’d figured he’d gotten into trouble and that had only pissed her off. Even more so when she’d finally read her texts. While she was freaking out needing help, he’d gotten himself into a fight.

To him it was more important to inflict pain rather than to help her calm down. Or to at least attempt to get her out of there as soon as possible. Instead he left it up to someone else. Maybe her Mickey no longer existed and all that remained of the monster she loved was the monster she was terrified of. He’d chosen violence over her, she’d chosen to forget over him.

What a better way to forget than with sex? She knew she was just listening to demon that didn’t know how to handle her emotions, but it was better than freaking out again.

Taking a deep final hit from the joint between her lips, she inhaled hard before blowing the smoke out and doing something she hadn’t done all weekend. She ignored the anxiety creeping up her arm, her tank top hanging off her shoulders, hair everywhere, a pair of form fitting joggers hugging her curves in all the right places, the joint still burning between her fingers and headed towards the door to unlock it.

The moment she opened the door he was over the threshold his lips planted firmly on hers. She was too numb to feel anything. Forcing her arms to wrap around him as he helped her to jump she wrapped her legs around his waist as he began walking further in the house.

The last thing she saw before closing the door was Dave watching her make out with her ex. A small part of her chuckled feeling elated in the feeling, but then she saw Natalie and it fueled her more. He never had time for her, but now with Natalie being back, he had all the time in the world.

She could hear the screech of his wheels as he drove off and her demon squealed loudly for him to hear. Begging him to come save her from herself, but the fear begins to envelop her demon once again silencing her. After all this had been her idea. She pressed herself up against Jace a little more as he finally made it to the couch and sat down.

He’d used all his energy in that one kiss and as much as he wanted to relive those memories, he couldn’t help now seeing Chase in them instead of himself. He had never been one to believe the rumors, but none had ever affected him like this. None had ever given him reason to believe them.

Jace’s p.o.v.

“Princess. Princess wait.” I groaned fighting hard against my own urges. This wasn’t the plan. I hadn’t meant to kiss her, but the boy outside, the one that had been holding her hand, said he wasn’t her boyfriend. That she had one, but he wasn’t sure they were going to last too much longer. I saw my shot and I took it. I let the moment of excitement fill me and I was going to take advantage, but Chase kept filling my thoughts, interrupting my mind. I was trying to ignore the sensation of her lips leaving their mark on my neck. How her hands ran through the little bit of hair on top of my head. My hands tried to palm her ass, but it was just too much to grip and I loved it. Her perfect breasts were pressed up against my chest making me realize that she wasn’t even wearing a bra. It would be so easy to just rip her clothes off and fuck her right here right now. Her hips had a mind of their own as they sensually grinded up against me. I was getting hard and losing my senses. I couldn’t help it. She was beautiful and perfect to me, or she had been perfect. As much as I wanted to just get lost in the moment and do what her body was begging me for, I couldn’t calm my racing mind. This was reminiscent of when she first came to me. She was running away from something then and I didn’t care but to indulge in all that she wanted. I was witnessing it this time and it just didn’t feel right no matter how good it felt. “Maria stop.” I sighed. “We need to talk.”

“Ugh!” she groaned, rolling her eyes and getting off of me. “Why does everyone insist on talking to me? I don’t want to talk about shit. Why can’t y’all understand that?” she snapped. I sat there studying her. Giving her the silence she needed. She reached for the weed and rolling papers on the table, but I stopped her encasing her small hands into my large ones. I could see traces of the girl I was once knew, but my judgement was clouded from the girl sitting in front of me now. This girl, I had no clue about.

“Whatever it is that you’re running from is eventually going to catch up to you, but if you keep pushing everyone away there will be no one there to help you get over the finish line.” I cried, actually starting to tear up at the sight of her like this. This was not the girl that captured my heart. This was not my fearless and brave goddess. This girl was weak. She hid now. She ran so she wouldn’t have to deal. She was muted instead of loud. I missed when she was vibrant. I missed when her confidence was too strong to even crack just a little. I missed when she meant what she said exactly how she had said it. She never hesitated to put me in my place when I needed it. She believed in us even when I started not to believe it. She used to be so much more than I deserved, but now we were on the same level. I didn’t like it. She was so much better than she’d ever realized. “Why are you like this now? What happened between you and Chase to make you act this?” Seeing the way the look on her face had change proved that I had asked the wrong question.

Maria’s p.o.v.

Hearing the accusation in his question was like being smacked awake. It felt like someone had thrown ice cold water in my face. Like I had been kicked in the ribs after breaking all sixteen of them. Sighing I snatched my hands away from his and grabbed the weed to roll up.

“You want to talk, let’s talk.” I snapped trying to remain focused on the task I had assigned myself. “Why are you here?”

“Maria-”

“No Jace.” I snapped, cutting him off tempted to throw the weed at him hoping some would get in his eyes. “Why are you here now? I’ve never gotten more than an email since you left and now you show up, text and call. Why do you want to talk now? Why does it have to be about Chase?” he went silent as I smirked and placed the joint between my lips to light it. As if compelled too a burst of laughter exploded from me causing tears to form in my eyes. The more I thought about it, the harder I laughed. “You’re here about Friday? You have questions and you want answers. Let me guess, you realized you’ve been lied to. Now you want to see who’s the one that lied to you. What’s the matter Jacey? Something in your mind you don’t want to believe?”

“You know nothing about me Princess. Please don’t act like you do.” he frowned, scooting away from me. Had I hit a nerve? The demon was free again and she wanted a piece of him.

“Oh did wittle old me hit the big bad Jace nerve? To contrary belief I do know you. I know you well. You’re a hypocrite. All of this time that you’ve been running and now you want to sit here and act as if I’m the one with the issues. Wake up Jace. You know the truth, but don’t make it my fault if you don’t want to believe it.” I spat taking a hard hit off the joint and coughing. I wouldn’t cry anymore over something I couldn’t change.

“So you pretended to love me and then you went and slept with my best-friend?” he questioned more to himself than me, but I still heard him. A rage like never before filled me and before I knew it I was screaming, yelling and throwing my fist at him landing more than I was missing.

Dave’s p.o.v.

“I’m sorry.” I sighed finally pulling up in front of Maria’s house. She’d been quiet the entire ride and it was killing me. “It’s not right for me to blame you like that for my actions. I was wrong and I wholeheartedly apologize.”

“For what? Nothing you said was wrong. It’s the truth and I have to deal with it no matter how much I don’t like it. You’re right I was informed and begged to tell you the truth when it first happened. I told everyone not to say anything using the excuse that I wanted to be the one to tell you. I was wrong for leaving you in the dark like that, but I won’t apologize for doing so. In that time I got to be me, to be who I truly was without fear of judgement or insecurities. I had nothing tying me back to my old life and I was loving that feeling of freedom. I do apologize for thinking so low of you though. I didn’t want to believe you’d change. A part of me thought you were still chasing popularity one way or another. Whether you’d be an all-star champion player or the bad boy all the girls wanted, I thought you still wanted that attention. I will apologize for leaving you in the dark for so long, but I won’t apologize for just wanting to be Amar instead of Nat. Amar was adventurous and outgoing. Nat was the weak, abused and scared little girl. I’m not that girl anymore. I’m not the girl that needed you Scar. I’m so much more now and you tied me back to her. Being around you makes me feel like her again. So I stayed away. I stayed away from you.”

There was nothing I could even say to that. It hurt to know I wasn’t even an afterthought nor a positive one, but it was her truth. I couldn’t be mad at her for her truth. For a moment more we just sat there in silence. My foot accidentally hit the gas even though I was still in park making the wheels screech snapping me out of the silence.

“I don’t know what to say, but I still apologize.” I shrugged. She opened her mouth to say something, but the look on Phoenix’s face made me interrupt her. “I think your boyfriend’s waiting.” I smirked. She rolled her eyes before opening the door and then I heard it now that I wasn’t so focused on her. The muffled screaming and what sounded like glass breaking. His look made sense now. That sound was coming from Maria’s house. What the hell was going on in there?

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